Cochise College opened its doors in 1964 as one of the first community colleges in Arizona. It is located in an area rich in history and cultural diversity and has come a long way from its humble beginnings, when the administration offices were housed in the Gadsden Hotel in Douglas.

From the beginning, the college has been committed to serving citizens throughout Cochise County. Cochise College is Arizona’s largest rural community college, serving approximately 15,000 students annually.

The establishment of the college can be attributed to the efforts of the dedicated citizens of Cochise County, who voted in 1961 to create a community college district. A 1962 bond election resulted in the construction of the Douglas Campus, a 540-acre facility featuring unique architecture and panoramic views of the Mule and Chiricahua mountains, as well as neighboring Sonora, Mexico.

The population growth of Fort Huachuca and Sierra Vista and the increased interest in higher education created a need for a second campus in the western part of the county. The campus in Sierra Vista evolved from a handful of temporary buildings at Buena High School in the early 1970s to the full-fledged separate campus that opened its doors to classes in 1978 at its present location on North Colombo Avenue. In partnership with Fort Huachuca, Cochise College also occupies a facility on post, providing classes and support services to active military and community-based residents.

The Benson Center opened in fall 2000 in the northwestern part of Cochise County. The Willcox Center opened in 2010 on Willcox Unified School District property in northeastern Cochise County. These centers provide a variety of programs and services throughout the region.

The development of community-directed services has included the Center for Lifelong Learning, the Small Business Development Center, the Virtual Campus, the Correctional Education Division, Adult Education, and the Center for Economic Research. The college has increased its offering of educational programs while expanding partnerships with K-12 schools, universities and local industries.

In recent years, the college has put significant resources toward facility renewal projects across the district. On both its Douglas and Sierra Vista campuses, new construction and major renovations provide space to meet the needs of 21st-century learners and educators. In addition, the college has made major technology investments in its classrooms and support areas.

Cochise College continues its journey as a learning community. This direction focuses on teaching and learning, access and diversity, and the use of technology and innovative instruction.